The Latest Trends: Why the Popularity of 89 Girls’ and Boys’ Names Soared in 2013

 

When selecting names, parents often consider options that are similar in some way. For example, they may consider root names against their variations (William versus Liam), names that sound similar (Aubrey versus Audrey), names with the same theme (such as nature names, place names, ethnic names or religious names, or names with the same prefix or suffix. Below are some name clusters or themes that explain why the popularity of 89 boys’ and girls’ names rose rapidly in 2013, as reported by the Social Security Administration

 

Girls’ Names Rising Rapidly in Popularity

 

Everly/Everleigh: Everly was the 5th fastest rising girl’s name followed by Everly, the 6th fastest riser. (I rated Everly, the name Channing Tatum gave his baby daughter, as one of the best celebrity baby names of the year 2013.)

 

Place Names: Led by Dallas (the 15th fastest rising girls’ name) and India (the 17th fastest riser), more than 15 place names increased in popularity including: Ireland, Milan, Milana, Maylasia, Maylaya, Phoenix, Asia, Londyn, Adelaide, Dakota, Catalina, Georgia, Virginia and more. (Strangely, Sydney had one of the largest declines in popularity on the top 100 girls’ list.)

 

Flower, Shrub and Tree Names: Rosie was the 16th fastest rising name for girls. Rosie and Rose also increased in popularity. A variety of other flower, shrub and tree names also rose, including Dahlia, Sage, Saige, Azalea, Laurel, Juniper, Magnolia and Willow. (I recently met a woman named Magnolia. She told me she was the only woman she knew with that name. Apparently, reinforcements are on the way.)

 

Amelia, Mila and Sound-Alikes: As Amelia climbed onto the Next 10 list, Mila leaped onto the top 100 list and sound-alikes Myla, Emilia, Camila, Millie and Milania also increased in popularity. (You may recall that Mila is what Jenna Bush Hager wants friends and family to call her daughter, whom she named Margaret Laura, in 2013.)

Brand Names: Though I was surprised to see Oakley, a chic sunglasses brand, show up on the rapidly rising list for girls, I also noticed Chanel, a well-established perfume and designer brand on the list. (One prominent brand name that declined in 2013 was Mercedes.)

 

Virtue Names: Also rising rapidly were a variety of virtue names including Mercy, Felicity, Serenity, Serena, and Joy.

 

Hadley/Hadlee: Hadlee was the 12th fastest rising name for girls. Also rising rapidly was root name, Hadley.

 

“Annabel Lee”: Another fast-rising cluster included Anabel, Annabell, Annabelle, and Annabella–names popularized by Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem, “Annabel Lee,” which was written long before TV and movies were invented.

TV tie-ins: Daleyza (“Larrymania”) was the #1 fastest-rising girls’ name in 2013. Sadie (“Duck Dynasty”) had one of the largest percentage increases in popularity, from #119 in 2012 to #50 in 2012–a 58% increase in popularity.

 

Boys’ Names Rising Rapidly in Popularity

 

Variations of Jason: Jayceon was the #1 fastest rising boys’ name. Jayse was #4. Also rising rapidly were Jase, Jayce, Jayce and Jayson. However, the root name, Jason, declined. Apparently parents were seeking more contemporary forms of the mythological name. (You may recall that Jason led the Argonauts on a search for the Golden Fleece.)

 

Jackson/Jack & Variations: Jackson was the fastest rising name on the “Next 10 list. Related names like Jax, Jazen, Jaxon, Jack and Jaxton, also gained in popularity. (Popularity gains by these “macho” names is in contrast to gains on the top 10 list by “sensitive” names for boys with soft consonants.)

 

Pompous Titles: Duke was the 5th fastest rising boys’ name. Deacon was #19. Also rising rapidly were Royal, Major, King, Kingston, Messiah and Legend. (This trend should keep psychologists very busy.)

 

Weapons, Hunting & Battle Names: Names associated with weapons such as Remington, Gunner and Archer continued to rise rapidly, along with Gunnar, Kannon, Kayson, Kaysen, Cayson, Hunter and Killian. (This trend should please the NRA.)

 

Zane/Zayn and Other “Z “Names: Zayn was the 7th fastest-rising boys’s name. It’s a variation of root name ,Zane, which also rose rapidly along with  related variations, Zayne and  Zain. Also rising rapidly were unrelated “Z” names like Zaid, Zaiden, Zaire, and Zavier. (It seems that  “Z” names still have a “cool” and “macho” vibe.)

 

Arab Names: The most recognizable Arab names on the rapidly-rising boys’ names were Abdullah and Mohammad, followed by Ahmad, Amir, Ameer, Hassan, Mustafa, and Ibrahim, among others. (It takes courage to give your child an Arab name, because of fears people may have about them.)

TV Tie-ins:  Castiel (“Supernatural”) and Jase (“Duck Dynasty”) were the 5th and 16th fastest-rising names in 2013. Both names are associated with characters on TV shows.

Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler Pick Rapidly-Rising Name for Son, Jaxon Wyatt

When the 2012 Social Security Administration popularity data was published, one of fastest-rising tends I noticed was the use of the letter “x” to give boys’ names a macho vibe.

Now Kristin Cavallari and husband Chicago Bears QB, Jay Cutler, have named their second son Jaxon Wyatt–giving their baby boy a middle name that is ranked #6 on my latest “Cool Names for Boys” interactive list to go with the strong first name. Wyatt adds the image of “pistol-packin” sheriff Wyatt Earp to a given name that sports an macho “x” right smack dab in the middle.

When I wrote a post about the name (Camden) that Cavallari and Cutler picked for their first son, back in 2012, I published some of her baby naming advice—which she offered at the time. Her number one tip had to do with picking a name that sounds good when you put the first, middle and last names all together. How do you think Jaxon Wyatt Cutler sounds? Sounds pretty good to me. But a three-syllable middle name (like Jaxon Remington Cutler) would have given it a more interesting and impressive sound, in my opinion. Use the link above to check out Cavallari’s other baby-naming tips.

I want to thank Mark Konkol of WDNA Talk Radio in Chicago for tipping me off to this story. This is the article he sent me to call my attention to Jaxon Wyatt Cutler and get my top-of mind comments by phone.

 

 

 

Gun-Related Baby Names Like Colt and Remington Are Growing in Popularity

I recommend you read a provocative Daily Beast article about the rise in gun-related names in the U.S. and what it might mean. Abby Haglage contacted baby name expert, Laura Wattenberg to get the facts and her perspective.  I found the subject of the article to be of great interest, but some of Wattenberg’s comments raised more questions than they answered.

First the facts; between 2002 and 2012, the popularity of gun-related names have risen explosively:

Names:         2002    2012   %Increase

Colt                194       955    +492%

Remington    185      666    +360%

Ruger              23       118     +513%

Wattenberg’s comment:

“This name [Ruger] is more evidence of parents’ increasing interest in naming children after firearms. Colt, Remington, and Gauge have all soared, and Gunner is much more common than the traditional name Gunnar… I think of names as a fossil record of our culture. You can look back over generations and get a sense of what people were talking about.”

Haglage gave Wattenberg a chance to comment about names in the context of a recent news item that Sonora, a state in Northwestern Mexico, recently banned 61 names including Terminator, Virgin, Burger King, Twitter and Hitler. Wattenberg’s comment:

“Whatever the inspiration for a baby’s name, parents shouldn’t be excessively worried about names contributing to bullying. Today’s kids have no sense of what a normal name is.”

Wattenberg is a statistician, not a sociologist. I’d like to see some data to back her claims that:

“Today’s kids have no sense of what a normal name is.”

Compare the 955 boys who were named Remington in 2012 with the 22158 boys who were named Jacob. Which do you think is more normal? Do you know the difference between “normal names” and “weird names”? Do you think children don’t know the difference between “normal names” and weird names”? If that’s true, then why do kids with weird names complain about them like this: “I hate my weird name. I wish I had a normal name.”

“… parents shouldn’t be excessively worried about names contributing to bullying.”

You  probably noticed that in an article full of data, Wattenberg provided no data to support that statement. We know that bullying is a huge problem in schools from coast to coast. A recent ABC study reported these major findings:

-30% of all students identified themselves as either bullies or victims of bullying.

-Every day 160,000 students stay home from school due to a fear of being bullied.

And, a study in Britain found that half the suicides among young people are related bullying.

Recent high-profile cases of bullying, cyber-bullying and sexting explain how verbal abuse accompanies physical abuse to cause teen-age suicides. In an article about bullying, Dr. Michele Borba writes, “Most bullying starts verbally THEN escalates to a more intense level.”

In a school environment where teasing and bullying are everyday events for hundreds of thousands of children, I’d love to see Wattenberg’s evidence to support her claim that kids aren’t teased about their names.

What Guys Would Name The Baby If the Choice Were Up to Them?

Years ago I read an article about “names from the hood” in Business Week and learned that most of the unique, non-traditional names came from one-parent families. The  take-away message seemed to be that two-parent families are more likely to produce the kind of “sensible” names likely to please friends and family members and help junior get a job, too.

What caused me to think along those lines was an article in The Stir by Michele Zipp that listed 25 names guys would give their babies if the choice were up to them. Eighteen of the names listed seemed fairly likely to please family, friends, and personnel directors. But here are seven names likely to be vetoed by a spouse or partner for a variety of reasons:

Macho Name: Geronimo

Fantasy Names: Obi-Wan, King

Macho Place Name: Alaska

Self-Glorification (for the greater glory of the dad) : Junior

Wimpy Names: Felix, Mortimer

I would expect spouses or partners to veto or at least question some of the names I’ve listed above. So I was surprised that writer Michele Zipp had this comment: “Obi-Wan, Felix, King … great names in my book.” Are there any female readers who’d care to comment? Which of these names would you veto?

P.S. I found a funny quote about Felix and parked it in an article about the name Hugh Grant gave his son.